Iraq: Japan leaves, Aussies next ?


Book Reviewer
Apologies if this has appeared elsewhere:


Japan to pull troops out of Iraq

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has announced plans to withdraw his country's troops from Iraq.
Mr Koizumi said Japan's presence had been "highly appreciated by the Iraqi government and its people".

The 600 non-combat troops have been working on reconstruction projects in southern Iraq since February 2004, protected by UK and Australian forces.

The decision was unpopular with the Japanese public, many of whom said it violated Japan's pacifist constitution.

It was Japan's first foray into an active foreign war zone since World War II.

Japan's constitution currently renounces the use of force
This has been stretched to allow self-defence troops
1992 law allowed troops to join UN and relief work overseas
2003 law said troops could go to non-combat zones in Iraq
PM Koizumi wants to give Japan even greater powers

Drafted by the US in 1947, the constitution bans the use of force to settle international disputes. The troops in Iraq have been barred from using force except in self-defence.
Mr Koizumi said in a televised address that Japan would still provide "as much support as possible for the nation's reconstruction efforts".

The Japanese troops have been based in the city of Samawa, engaged in work such as repairing buildings and providing medical training.

Japanese media reports said the last troops were expected to leave by late July.

International role

The decision to withdraw is likely to have been prompted by plans for the UK and Australia to hand over responsibility for security in the area around Samawa to Iraqi forces.

The Iraqi forces will take over Muthanna province next month, in what will be the first such handover since the US-led invasion.
Japan has gradually been expanding its role on the international stage in recent years.

It deployed nearly 1,000 troops to Indonesia to help with humanitarian aid following the December 2004 tsunami

But the deployment to Iraq - which began in late 2003 - drew criticism from many Japanese, who said it would be impossible for the troops not to get drawn into the fighting.

Mr Koizumi won warm praise for the deployment from US President George W Bush, but he was criticised at home for overriding the constraints of the constitution to serve his own political purposes.

No Japanese soldiers have been killed or wounded in Iraq, but Mr Koizumi faced a political crisis in 2004 when three aid workers were taken hostage by Iraqi insurgents, who demanded that Japanese troops withdraw.

The three were eventually released unharmed, but another five Japanese citizens have been killed by militants.

Mr Koizumi is due to visit President Bush at the end of this month. He is due to leave office later this year.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Le Chevre
Another slant on it might be that they have to nip back to Japan to build some new Nissan huts! They are flying back honda 'plane!
My best bet here is that Australia will probably withdraw their troops from Iraq but PM Howard is keen to be seen as a loyal and active allie and may redeploy all or some troops to Afganistan to join troops already deployed there or boost the troops struggling in East Timor. The Aussie Army has never been so busy (since the 60's) and is short on bayonets hence they are actually expanding the Army. Long over due. Considering the increasing amount of regional unrest around the Pacific Islands, PNG and Timor plus the desire to participate in US foreign policy adventures I reckon the Aust Army will see a prolonged period of growth in size and capability.
The Aussies won't leave. Their HQ in Baghdad is the most efficient self-licking ice cream in the world and they get mucho perks for being there.

The Japanese are less then pivotal, a few chaps building bridges and power plants protected by 300 samurai, I mean soldiers.

Also the Aussies can't go because they do the best BBQs in Theatre.


Book Reviewer
But are they leaving cos its too dangerous, or because they are no longer needed?

Arent the Aussies mainly in Muthanna? some SOF up in Baghdad etc? Once muthanna is handed back to locals, will they go elsewhere in the sand pit or home?
Apparently they are heading to Nasiriyah to take over from the Italians, who just found their "fourth reverse gear" and departed..


Book Reviewer
The Japanese - their work is done, they have spent a VERY large amount of money in the Province, and can depart with their heads held high (relatively speaking, of course).

As for the Diggers, if you wait a couple of days you'll probably see an official announcement, and I would recommend limiting speculation until then. I will say though, that there is NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER of the Aussies going to Al Anbar!

Meanwhile, both countries will continue to contribute, so the Flag count remains the same, which will keep the Americans happy :)


Book Reviewer
O-S fyi,

Iraq's first provincial justice building opens for business

The reconstruction process in Iraq has taken another step foward with the opening of Al Muthanna's new justice building. It is the first provincial justice building to open in the entire country.

Opening ceremony of the new justice building in Al Muthanna, Iraq [Picture: MOD]
In a ceremony attended by leading local figures including the Governor and visiting representatives from the Ministry of Justice in Baghdad, Al Muthanna’s new justice building was officially opened by the Commander of Task Force Muthanna, Colonel Giles Vosper-Brown.
With this being the first provincial justice building to open in the entire country, the people of Al Muthanna province have shown that they are at the forefront of progress in Iraq. The building stands as a symbol of justice and advancement for Iraq’s justice system, and has put Al Muthanna province firmly on the map.

The design and construction of the building was a project that spanned over 18 months and was overseen by the British Civil Military Co-operation (CIMIC) team as part of their Governance Capacity Building Programme.

The building provides offices for essential departments within the Ministry of Justice, which will greatly improve their ability to cope with the effects of economic expansion and enable significant community issues to be addressed in a timely and efficient manner.

The new building, a symbol of justice and advancement for Iraq's justice system [Picture: MOD]
As the facility was opened, Colonel Vosper-Brown congratulated the people of Al Muthanna on their fine new building and said that it was "an honour and a privilege" to have been invited to the occasion.
Colonel Vosper-Brown said:

"The new justice building, situated right in the centre of As Samawah, shows that justice is available for all Iraq.

"The Multi-National Forces are very glad to have been able to help the Governor and the people of Al Muthanna province by bringing it into use again." interesting to know what the plans for ongoing Justice Pillar engagement are once the Brits have extracted.....

Le Chevre
Escape-from-PPRuNe said:
Apparently they are heading to Nasiriyah to take over from the Italians, who just found their "fourth reverse gear" and departed..
That's a shame, the Italians did a decent enough job. The Carabenieri took over from one of my unit's position in Nasiriyah, moved into the HQ building. Very squared away bunch of young soldiers with good attitudes. The unit spent a couple of weeks with them before the change over. I've never seen a group more **** retentive than the Carabenieri, all their vehicles were dressed on each other at all times and cleaned daily as if being readied for inspection. They ate like kings compared to us, I remember seeing whole sides of beef thawing outside. Two months later I was back in the states and saw that same building on TV reduced to rubble from a car bomb, poor bastards.

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